Mini Book Reviews

Hello, World.

Today I’m sharing four mini book reviews.  Going forward, I’ll share mini-reviews of books I’ve read recently and then will do extended reviews of my four and five-star reads!

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4.75 ⭐️ The Dutch House by Ann Patchett is a story of family and how the definition of family – how it looks, who composes a family – is malleable. I am an absolute sucker for a family drama. Told in Patchett’s slow, meticulous style, this story spans five decades to tell the story of Danny and Maeve, a brother and sister bound by blood and forever tethered together by a torn childhood. Their mother leaves when both siblings are young, and their father remarries a woman so cold she could be an ice sculpture. It is a meditation on nostalgia, memory, and perception. Specifically, how the things that seem grand when young tarnish when viewed with adult eyes.
The home the siblings revered in childhood is a vehicle for reflection and memory – what we take with us and what we forget or let go. The home they grow up in is a vessel of history and aspiration and it’s hardly theirs. The home was built for different people in a different time, and their father attempts to weave histories together – portraits of the wealthy family for which it was built hung proudly on the walls, and a new portrait of his daughter hung nearby, a testament to her father’s poor roots and aspirations of grandeur. The Dutch House represents something different to each member of the family and it is through years of revisiting it that each member of the family finds peace with what they feel robbed of and what they desire for themselves.

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4⭐️ America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales … and we are given a wonderful love story that is equal parts hilarious and romantic. I flew through the audiobook and loved it so much I picked up a hard copy from @kramerbooks this weekend. It’s a steamy read that keeps you engaged from the very first moment of witty banter between Henry and Alex.

A classic “sworn-enemies-turned-lovers” tale, this story explores sexuality, love, and what happens when your personal life is a headline for another’s political gain.

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4.5⭐️ This review took me a while. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what I wanted to say about this beautifully crafted debut. This novel opens with Stanford Solomon, a man who has a thirty-year-old secret, which is that he is not actually Stanford Solomon but a man named Abel Paisley. Stanford was Abel’s fellow dock worker in Jamaica, and when their white bosses confused the two, announcing Abel’s death, Abel didn’t correct them. Instead, he stole Stanford’s identity and set off for America, where he started a new life. Nearing the end of his life, Abel discloses his secret to his whole family – the daughter he left behind who thought he was dead and the daughter who knows him as Stanford her whole life – believing that his second wife, Estelle, died as a reckoning for his past action.

This debut chronicles the fractures that occur long before Abel steals Stanford’s identity, fractures that begin in colonial Jamaica, and weave through time to present-day Harlem. On a separate line, Debbie, an aspiring museum curator, reads her ancestor’s journal. Her ancestor is Harold Fowler, the owner of a massive plantation in Jamaica with whom Abel’s ancestors are intertwined. If Abel represents how uncertain lineage, immigration, slavery, and secrecy impact a family tree, then Debbie represents what happens when you must confront the atrocities of your ancestors – a time comes where you must decide to acknowledge their wrongs or bury them deeper in time so your family line is salvaged. The uncertainty of lineage, the malleability of it when the people recording others’ lives are responsible for fracturing the tree, is a representation of power and the exploitation of it.

Weaving in folklore, Card explores the repercussions of the ghosts we carry, unseen but felt – the ghosts who operate in our periphery, transforming the path of our family line by forcing us to remember the things we buried.

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4.5⭐️ •
From the publisher: “Frances is a coolheaded and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend is a beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, they meet a well-known photographer, and as the girls are then gradually drawn into her world, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman’s sophisticated home and handsome husband, Nick. But however amusing Frances and Nick’s flirtation seems at first, it begins to give way to a strange—and then painful—intimacy.” •
This book hit differently. Sally Rooney writes novels about young people navigating life and writes with a judgment-free touch. This novel explores what happens when you get in too deep with the wrong person and the repercussions that the relationship has on you and the people around you. Namely, the people in their lives who are oblivious to their actions. Rooney digs into motivations, shortcomings, and vulnerability with a rawness—a straightforwardness—that feels so familiar it’s jarring. Whether you recognize yourself or someone you know, the story is uncomfortably knowable, and yet you want to see it through. Highly, highly recommend!

Have you read any of the above?

Truly,

Callie leigh

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